Catch the Pigeon with XTA (sorry about that…)

Posted by | March 18, 2014 | | No Comments

Pigeon Detectives kicked off their UK tour with tracks from their new album ‘Emergency’ and, with XTA digital signal processing an integral part of WE Audio’s PA system, the band’s brand of Indy-pop sounded better than ever.

Comprising a comprehensive number of Turbosound cabinets at both FOH and monitors, and with an array of XTA DSP units sitting across the system, the performance of WE’s system has not failed to impress the Pigeon’s engineers.

“Our association with Andy Hawkins, the band’s Front of House engineer, dates back some time,” explains Wayne Barker, owner of WE Audio. “But we met up more recently when we covered Underage Festival at London’s Victoria Park last year, and then again at Jersey Live. He was blown away by the system at Underage, even though we were running it at low level there because of the need to control noise levels due to the proximity of residential areas.

“This, and the consistency of sound quality at gigs we did subsequently at Portsmouth Pyramids and Reading Hexagon, meant that when the opportunity came to quote for the tour, it didn’t take them long to decide to go with us.”

The tour, which ran through May and June and took in venues of various sizes, with Brixton Academy being the final and largest, utilized 24 Turbosound TA-890H and 24 TA-890L, plus eight TSW-218s subs set up as a left and right flown four-way system, with XTA DP448s as system control, plus a left and right ground stacked system running five-way, all powered by MC2 T45 and T25 amplifiers.

A total of eight DP448s sat at FOH, with an XTA SiDD used as compression for the support band and for Matt Bowman’s [lead singer] vocals – which also had a D2 stereo dynamic equalizer sitting across them – as well as for the bass guitar.

“We used a DP448 as a matrix, using that as a system driver into the other units,” continues Barker. “This meant we could run the system digitally from there on in. We found it a very good source of control. It has also meant that we were able to get rid of the analogue EQs, which we did via the latest version of AudioCore. This was a really good move forwards as we could EQ remotely.”

Hawkins carries his own SiDD with him. “I have a SiDD and a D2,” he says. “I started out with the SiDD on the lead vocal, but I needed a few more channels of dynamic EQ. I bought it originally because I wanted a one-box solution. I’m still using it on the bass, but I’ve added a D2 for the vocals. Both are great units and I won’t be moving them on. Why should I? They sound right and you can get in there and do what you want.

He continues: “The units are musical and surgical at the same time, but don’t seem to be ‘ragging’ the sound like other boxes I’ve had in the past – you can’t hear the XTAs working. And I know I can push them a bit more and get away with it, as they’re doing exactly what it says on the meter, which you can’t say about other products. And I’ve never had to open up a manual for one… you want to be able to say: ‘I expect it does that. Oh yes, it does.’ And that’s what happens. Also, there’s an awful lot fitted into the front panel without even having to open up AudioCore.” A happy man, Andy states that this tour is the first he has worked on where such a good level of consistency has been achieved.

On stage, monitor engineer Chris McCarron supplied the band’s mix via a Heritage H3000 with an XTA DS800 providing mic splits, DP226s controlling the Turbosound TFM-450 wedges, as well as utilizing a combination of XTA C2s, D2s and a GQ600.

“Everything that Wayne has provided for us, from service to equipment, has been tip top,” says McCarron. “The splitter rack is fantastic, as are the XTA graphics and the outboard.”

“The tour has gone extremely well,” concludes Barker. “I’m going out to Europe with the guys after this for a couple of dates and I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.”